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RE; Car Service Rules


lstt100
 

Jim,

In all cases, foreign cars were used in preference to home road cars, if they were available. If no foreign car was available a home road car would be used.  Determining how long to wait for an appropriate car was on a case by case basis.   If shipper notified railroad he needed car on Wednesday and a system car was available Wednesday, but a correct foreign ownership car was going to be available on Thursday, would he wait?  It was situational, some shippers where willing to wait a day or two, others, because of specific shipping dates for a product would specify that their order was date specific.

Car velocity was the most important item. Amount of money made on a specific shipment was not determined by ownership of the car.  Carriers did not want to send their cars off-line unless no other car was available.  Each carrier invested in their equipment and wanted it available for their own on-line customers. Once off-line the owner no longer had control of their investment.

Backhauling of empties over long distances was done in many cases.  A good example was DM&IR in northern Minnesota had a large need for empty gondolas to load pulpwood and did not have sufficient inbound loaded gondolas to have sufficient car supply to protect the pulpwood loading.  NP, GN, SOO, MILW, and CNW all delivered empty eastern ownership gondolas to DM&IR at Duluth.  In many cases these were backhauled from Twin Cities to Duluth given to DM&IR.  Once loaded the expectation was the railroad providing the empty would participate in the loaded eastbound move of pulpwood.  Other examples are eastern ownership boxcars located in the Dakotas being backhauled to Montana points for eastbound grain loading.  Backhauling was dependent on car shortages and time of need.  Service Orders negated any backhauling of empties unless the Service Order applied to that need.

Keep in mind backhauling was driven by an agent having a car order from a shipper for a specific load to a specific destination.

If an empty PRR car was located at Roseburg on Wednesday and no load was available until Saturday, it would have been sent on its way towards home, possibly to be intercepted and used by another downline town if a load was available.

Supply of empties was dynamic.  Each day at any given point there would be additional cars made empty that might fill an order at a specific town.  For Car Distibutors and local yards this changed every hour.

Dan Holbrook

 



Bill Welch
 

Dan, in the steam era and into the late fifties, what were the modes of communications? I am assume they used the telegraph and telephone. Did they a visual means of know what was where, a big chalk board perhaps?

My head is spinning trying to imagine the flow of information, managing the data they needed, and the human resources involved. Did this go on 24/7?

Bill Welch


Charles Peck
 

In about 1960 a friend of mine was clerking in the NYC Water Street Yard, Louisville KY.  
He would operate a teletype machine, get report of what was incoming then get papers 
from the conductor, and walk the train checking numbers against the paperwork.  And he
would prepare lists of what was to be placed on an outgoing train. Once the switching was
done, he would walk the train checking car numbers against his list, make up paperwork
for the conductor, and teletype the final consist to the main office.
Over on the L&N RR in pre-electronic days, every baggage car had a place for company mail.
Large manila envelopes closed with a string were used and reused to bring and send data
all over the system. The bundles of envelopes came full of typed or handwritten lists of
cars received, sent, loaded, unloaded, and were sorted out to rooms full of desks with clerks,
typewriters, and adding machines.  Billing was done, per diem was calculated, reports from a 
thousand agents were totaled, At some point punch cards were added into the methodology,
but for many years, hundreds of clerks ground out the paperwork one car report at a time. 
Probably couldn't be done today.  Not with every clerk having a cell phone and a personal
coffee machine at their desk.
Chuck Peck in FL

On Sun, Sep 6, 2015 at 9:11 AM, fgexbill@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:
 

Dan, in the steam era and into the late fifties, what were the modes of communications? I am assume they used the telegraph and telephone. Did they a visual means of know what was where, a big chalk board perhaps?


My head is spinning trying to imagine the flow of information, managing the data they needed, and the human resources involved. Did this go on 24/7?

Bill Welch



George Eichelberger
 

Did all railroads approach using foreign and home road cars for off-line destinations the same way? When did "When Empty Return To...." markings and corresponding car service rules begin?

I ask because the Southern Railway records are full of examples where the railroad made a point that its per diem balances were usually positive and a good source of revenue. In other words, loading SR cars to offline destinations was not seen as a problem.....in most cases. At the height of the incentive per diem car boom (admittedly after the STMFC era), the Southern purchased 50 foot box cars that were intended to be basically free running.

I mentioned to the list some time ago that the other railroads would "trap" Southern cars for use on their lines because they did not have sufficient equipment of their own. The NYC after WWII was an example. At a time of rapidly increasing car purchase costs, paying per diem could be seen as a less costly option.


lstt100
 

Bill,

Before telephone agent would telegraph requests to other agents served by the local and the yard that madeup the local serving his station.  Lacking a positive response for car supply, most yards would forward a request to a division car distributor.  Once telephone became popular it was a matter of having a conversation on the phone.  I never was exposed to the telegraph mode, just telephone.

The "Station on Hand Reports" that we made out usually provided enough information to solve our car supply problems with a few phone calls. 

Prior to teletype and computers it was a labor intensive process.  Railroads had an army of clerks to solve all these problems.

Dan


lstt100
 

"When Empty Return To" dates from at least WWII and probably earlier.  I won't venture a guess on the fist application.  This stenciling on the side of the car was an early effort to get cars that were in assigned service(specially equipped cars) and cars loaded with contaminated commodities back to there loading point without clerks having to dig for the information.  Some railroads did stencil this on cars that were free running equipment in an attempt to get their equipment back home.  Contaminated cars and cars with special equipment were sent back per Car Service Directives(CSD).  Car Service Rules still applied to the free running equipment.

Most western carriers had better maintained and newer equipment and thus when they got "out East" more often than not they would become trapped and used for loading, some not returning for months or even years.  Bill Dick has commented on this on the list.  Loading home road equipment to off-line destinations for per diem purposes was usually caused by an excess of on-line equipment and the owner having insufficient business.  This caused some carriers to ship foreign empties home and use home road equipment for loads.  It happened but was not a recommended Car Service Division practice.

Dan


George Eichelberger
 

I have no doubt the Southern did not send cars off line simply because they had an excessive supply. There are multiple Southern Railway AFEs (Authorization for Expenditures) available that specifically mention positive per diem balances as part of the rationale to purchase the equipment. Is the comment about western and eastern roads based on specific documentation or someone’s assumptions? Does the extensive AAR documentation on car availability and car purchases in the years after the war confirm this eastern-western theory?

I would be very interested in seeing any primary research information that describes cars being trapped by the ACL, SAL, L&N or Southern. I recognize that various railroads entered bankruptcy during the depression, after the war and into the (forbidden) modern era. I also recognize that of the railroads I mention, only the SAL ever went through a bankruptcy, none were dismembered, abandoned a large part of their system or found themselves in such dire straits that they sold or merged themselves out of existence. (I believe it is correct to consider the RI, MILW and SP “western” roads?)


John Larkin
 

George hit a bullseye with the comment on per diem.  When I first started railroading with UP in 1982 I did a study of the yard office operations.  Among the other surprises was the priority given to getting foreign cars off the UP property before midnight, even running special trains (often shorter than normal) just to get the cars off before the next day's per diem would be due.  I asked how long that had gone on like that and was told that it had been that way since most of the clerks started work at UP, which went back into WWII in many cases. 

Another commensurate note was that the D&RGW in particular seemed to be pretty good at getting the UP cars to us, running their own "per diem" trains that were sometimes solid UP cars, again not particularly long.  This also had a history from the steam era according to the UP clerks working in Salt Lake.  Seems using the foreign cars came second to getting rid of the per diem, and UP in the local office delighted in getting UP cars sent back east on long runs that were interchanged at KC or Omaha due in part to the per diem they would collect..

John Larkin



On Sunday, September 6, 2015 12:53 PM, "george eichelberger geichelberger@... [STMFC]" wrote:


I have no doubt the Southern did not send cars off line simply because they had an excessive supply. There are multiple Southern Railway AFEs (Authorization for Expenditures) available that specifically mention positive per diem balances as part of the rationale to purchase the equipment. Is the comment about western and eastern roads based on specific documentation or someone’s assumptions? Does the extensive AAR documentation on car availability and car purchases in the years after the war confirm this eastern-western theory?

I would be very interested in seeing any primary research information that describes cars being trapped by the ACL, SAL, L&N or Southern. I recognize that various railroads entered bankruptcy during the depression, after the war and into the (forbidden) modern era. I also recognize that of the railroads I mention, only the SAL ever went through a bankruptcy, none were dismembered, abandoned a large part of their system or found themselves in such dire straits that they sold or merged themselves out of existence. (I believe it is correct to consider the RI, MILW and SP “western” roads?)

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Bruce Smith
 

Folks

This discussion has gone from interesting to ridiculous.

Whatever will happen in 1982 (or whenever you might eventually work for some other railroad) is irrelevant to this list.  Technology will change, attitudes will change, rules will change.  So while it is all well and good that some folks seem to have a crystal ball that tells them what will happen in the future (past 1960), for the purposes of this discussion, not only is it irrelevant, but also almost certainly fails to be correct.

Of course, since I model 1944, I don't give a flame about most of the car service rules anyway.  And why, you might ask, were car service rules suspended during WWII?  Excellent question, because the answer is to improve efficiency.  Now, THAT implies that if the rules had not been suspended, that efficiency was lowered by the need to actually try to follow the car service rules. As others have noted, the boxcar loading rules did not require foreign cars to be loaded to the home road, just in that general direction.  Railroads complied because they wanted other railroads to comply.  It was jointly beneficial.

Regards
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL


np328
 

    I do like this subject and have researched it off on and on for many years as time has allowed, either transcribing or uploading documents when applicable. And hope to or may do so again in the future.

   However, I cannot help but feel Bruce is correct.                     Jim Dick - Roseville, MN